'Wedge' Tornado Scores Direct Hit on Kansas Town - News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

'Wedge' Tornado Scores Direct Hit on Kansas Town

GREENSBURG, KANSAS -- At least seven people are dead in southwest Kansas, after a tornado ripped through the small town of Greensburg.  Officials say dozens of others have been injured.  Rescuers and search dogs are going house to house, looking for anyone who may be trapped under crumbled buildings.

Officials say much of downtown Greensburg was destroyed, including City Hall.  The tornado hit Friday night, leaving a broad swath of destruction in the Kiowa County town about 110 miles west of Wichita.

The storm front spawned tornadoes along a path stretching northeast from Greensburg through central Kansas.

Emergency personnel and search and rescue teams from throughout southwest Kansas raced toward Greensburg after the twister struck.  Rescuers are searching a partially collapsed hospital for people who may have been trapped.  HAZMAT crews are being sent in to check rail cars that were blown over.

"What went through our mind was, how do you rebuild?  All of Main Street is gone, both of our schools are gone," said Amy Fleenel, a storm survivor.  "I guess that's what we're thinking, where do we go from here?"

The National Weather Service described the tornado as a "wedge," an especially broad and tall formation.  Frederick Kruse of the weather service's Dodge City office said there were initial reports that the tornado was at least three-quarters of a mile wide on the ground.

Elsewhere on Friday, three small tornadoes touched down in rural southwestern Illinois, but officials said there were no reports of injury or damage.  Two tornadoes struck in Oklahoma, damaging some structures but injuring no one, officials said.

Posted by AEB

The Associated Press and the CBS Television Network contributed to this report.

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